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Game and fish partners with hotels, Visitors Bureau for pilot program
YUMA, ARIZONA - With concerns about airport security, even travelers who are avid fishermen probably don't make room in their bags for a rod and reel.
But that doesn't mean they can't wet a line on the road, at least if that road leads to Yuma, where the Arizona Game & Fish Department is luring hotel guests with the use of free fishing equipment.
The new pilot "Check It Out" program dropped its hook this week at five Yuma hotels, including Best Western Coronado, Clarion Suites Yuma, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Radisson Yuma.
Game & Fish provided each property with four new rods and reels, rigged and ready to fish, four stocked tackle boxes, information about online license purchase and brochures with tips for new anglers that also highlight local fishing hot spots.
The aim? Introduce folks to local fishing opportunities and provide a new recreational outlet for visitors, especially those on extended stays, said Chris Bedinger, Game & Fish spokesman.
"With the Colorado River in our backyard, Yuma is a natural for this program," Bedinger said. "We want to encourage fishing, our hotel partners want recreation options for guests, so it's win-win - except maybe for the fish."
Bedinger pointed out that between Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Yuma Proving Ground, a significant percentage of Yuma hotel guests are military personnel and government contractors who are here for a few days or a few weeks at a time.
"You can only watch so many movies," he said. "We want to make going fishing just as easy."
And while an Arizona license is required for anyone over the age of 14 who fishes in the state, program brochures explain how to buy a license online and print it out at a hotel business center, Bedinger said. Short-term guests can buy a license for one or five days, while regular or extended-stay guests might want to consider four-month or annual licenses.
Local hotels were quick to take the bait: Bedinger said all the slots in his pilot program were gobbled up the same night it was introduced at the Yuma Visitors Bureau annual meeting. And yes, if hotel guests strike just as hard, Game & Fish might consider expanding it to other hotels and other areas.
"It's an experiment, we're casting a line and seeing if we get some nibbles," Bedinger said. "Obviously, the more people we can get hooked on Arizona fishing, the happier we'll be."
Long-time Yuma hotelier Yvonne Peach of the Best Western Coronado said she thought a lot of her guests would take advantage of the new program.
"This is a great idea and a wonderful example of how businesses can team up with a state agency to showcase what Arizona has to offer," Peach added.
Yuma Visitors Bureau markets the Yuma area within the travel and tourism industry and to the general public. Direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled more than $566 million in 2010, supported nearly 5,800 jobs and generated $36.2 million in state and local tax revenues.
A longtime favorite with sun-seeking snowbirds, Yuma's population nearly doubles in the winter months, thanks to more than 23,000 spots in RV parks and resorts. The community also offers nearly 4,000 hotel rooms, conference and meeting facilities, and three casinos. For more details about Yuma's year-round attractions, special events - and the rarely "cloudy with a chance of tacos" forecast* - visit www.visityuma.com or call 800-293-0071.
* Yuma hotel guests will eat free every day the sun doesn't shine from Aug. 1, 2011 until July 31, 2012! For more information on our Centennial "free board" promotion, call us.CONTACT:
Project contact: Chris Bedinger, Arizona Game & Fish, 928-342-4045, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media contact: Ann Walker, 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell), email@example.com
Visitor Information Center: 1-800-293-0071
The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.
Media Relations Specialist Ann Walker can suggest itineraries and facilitate visits, or provide you with the inspired details to help nail down an assignment. We pride ourselves on always going "above and beyond."
You can download background and "anytime" materials below; dated press releases appear "most recent first" at left. Call or email us for photos and B-roll video.
YVB periodically hosts group and individual press trips, and is glad to partner with other Arizona or California DMOs to coordinate a visit to several regions.
For more information, contact Ann Walker at 928-376-0100 (office), 928-210-9044 (cell) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.